Electrolytes Explained

What are electrolytes and why do athletes need them? STACK provides the skinny on sodium, chloride, potassium, calcium and magnesium.


Carolina Panthers LB Luke Kuechly prefers an after-practice drink powder containing a blend of five electrolytes: sodium, chloride, potassium, calcium and magnesium. Here's what the stuff does.

Sodium: A.k.a. salt. The body uses it to control blood pressure and volume. It's necessary for muscles to work properly.

Chloride: Another important element for keeping body fluids balanced. An essential part of the stomach's digestive process.

Potassium: Helps muscles and nerves communicate. Works with sodium to keep fluid levels balanced in the body's cells.

Calcium: You have more calcium in your body than any other mineral. Your muscles, blood vessels and nervous system wouldn't work without it.

Magnesium: Vital for the contraction and relaxation of muscles. Also aids in transporting energy throughout the body.

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